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Wow, I got the 1st 7 verbal in a row right on GMAT Prep #1. I only missed 5 of the first 32 verbal questions (all spread out). Then I did something interesting. I missed 3 in a row on a RC passage (I was running short on time) and missed 5 of the last 9 questions. I ended up with a 38 in the Verbal section. I can't help but think if I had gotten one of the 3 questions right, I would be sitting 39 or 40, which is where I want to be. I am shocked that missing the 3 in a row could drop my score so drastically. If I had given myself a little more time (maybe 3-5 minutes), I could have slowed down and read everything thoroughly and probably not missed some near the end. Anyone else run into this kind of a situation. Dang...I feel like I am sooooo close to where I want to be.
38 on verbal is 80+ percentile, thus you're at that point where getting back to back problems can either boost you or tank you. It's possible you didn't "tank" your score, but rather dropped a couple points in those last few questions.
I'd say if you can manage this consistency on the test, you're pretty much set on verbal section (40 would help, but a 38 is still good).
I read through your experience. Two things I have gleaned from my experience on Verbal.
1) Absolutely do not get 2 or more wrong in a row. This seems to downgrade the score quickly.
2) Take your time with RC. If you don't understand the passage or rush through it, you can miss 3 or 4 questions in a row (or miss 2, 1 right, and then another wrong), which I think pretty much downgrades the score below the 80th percentile.
I think Shadowsjc mentioned that in his post on his GMAT experience and that is probably the most important thing to remember. If you are running out of time, just guess on one and then give yourself more time to get the next one right!